Battle Fantasia has a monumental challenge ahead of it. A 2D oneon- one fighter coming out almost in direct competition with Street Fighter IV, one of the most anticipated titles of 2009. Yeesh, you wouldn’t put money on it doing too well, would ya? This is why we’re inclined to go a little easy on Battle Fantasia, despite the fact that it simply isn’t as good as Capcom’s monster.
Hitting the main menu offers you a surprising bunch of options: story, arcade, online, survival, time attack, gallery and versus modes; however, you’ll soon discover that only two of those are worth playing, namely story and versus. We haven’t had the opportunity to test the online component, but we cannot imagine there will be too many 2D fighter fans playing this when Street Fighter hits shelves. We can’t recommend the story mode for the plot either, as it’s complete nonsense of the most banal variety. It’s neither cheesy or emotive, it’s just dreadfully boring. This could be because of the incest issues that meant a PAL release had to be delayed. On the up side, though, each piece of the inane script can be fast-forwarded through with relative ease.
It feels a little stunted as far as the gameplay itself goes, especially given how polished the visuals are. The standard array of characters have been stuffed in, with very little to set it apart from the Street Fighter, Darkstalker and Guilty Gear games. Two or three shoto characters, a charge character, rangey ones, a larger, grapple-based fighters, plus an array of girls to sex things up a little. Yawn. The combo system is as basic as you can imagine, and is only augmented by the snazzy visuals, which lend a degree of satisfaction to proceedings that we haven’t seen for some time.
Battle Fantasia’s only real problem is the street date. Six months ago we would have happily recommended it as a stopgap to Street Fighter IV, but we just can’t say that now. It looks lovely, plays without the faintest degree of glitches, can’t be accused of being particularly unbalanced, and is something nearly everyone can get into. You’ll probably be able to pick it up for around 20 quid, so seen like that it’s quite an attractive proposition. If you can ignore the presence of Street Fighter then go for it. If you’re sane, on the other hand then don’t bother.